Wrong target!

There is something quite wrong-headed about Carolyn Leckie’s article in The National. It’s not her rather desperate need to affirm her political credentials. Although that does seem a bit redundant. Surely one’s location on the spectrum of politics should be irrelevant to the matter of ensuring the welfare of children.

It’s not the rather condescending assumption that her views on the issue of the Named Person measure are more valid than others because of her background and experience; not to mention the fact that she read all 48 pages of the Supreme Court’s judgement, while others may only have read summaries of the finding supplied by those qualified to explain the meaning and implications.

It’s not even the way in which she personalises the matter and resorts to distinctly emotive language; although that certainly makes me uneasy.

What really irked was the comment about people regarding support for the Named Person scheme as a “test of loyalty” to the cause of independence. Really? If we are to suppose that support for the scheme is somehow linked to support for independence, would it not follow that opposition to the scheme was aligned with opposition to independence? If those who commend the Named Person measure are doing so for petty political reasons unrelated to the well-being of children, does this not at least strongly suggest that it is reasonable to assume this against it are similarly motivated?

Not from Ms Leckie’s perspective, apparently. By her account, the motivations of all those involved in the effort to scupper the legislation in its entirety are totally above reproach. This even seems to extend to the medieval-minded religionists of the Christian Institute who take their chosen scripture absolutely literally; Yeah! even unto the last child viciously slaughtered by their hateful God as bloody retribution for the unspeakable crime of talking back to a parent!

It seems Ms Leckie has more respect for the cant of science-denying creationists than for the views of those who, notwithstanding her patronising attitude, may be every bit as well informed as her. She appears ready to give at least equal weight to dogma-bound god-botherers as to people who might very well trump her distressing tales of a trying childhood with tear-jerking accounts of their own experience, were they inclined to do so.

It is deeply offensive to suggest that those who defend the Scottish Government’s efforts to more effectively provide access to services for children, young people and families do so solely because they see this as a way of demonstrating loyalty to the cause of independence. And don’t we just know that it was only on the second or perhaps the third rewrite that she removed the direct reference to “blind allegiance” to the SNP.

I have yet to see any condemnation of the Supreme Court’s decision from those who consider the Named Person scheme to be a much-needed measure to help prevent unfortunate cases ‘slipping through the net’. For the most part, people like myself welcome the finding as an opportunity to improve the legislation.

I think I speak for many when I tell Ms Leckie that it is not the judgement of the Supreme Court that I object to; nor even the fact that certain ‘interest groups’ have sought to wreck legislation I consider to be essential to the development of a more caring society. I am perfectly content to respect the right of religionists to hold and express whatever views they wish, even as I abhor the irrational and often odious content of those views. I would actively defend their right to access the law in an effort to impose their superstition-riddled code on the rest of us – confident that the courts can be relied upon to keep the dark forces of primitivism at bay.

Contrary to what Ms Leckie supposes, I am serenely untroubled by challenges to the Scottish Government’s legislative programme. It’s just part of the process. And I have evidence-based confidence that the SNP administration is perfectly capable of dealing with these challenges in an appropriate and effective manner. As, indeed, they are doing in the instance under discussion.

I utterly reject the insulting suggestion that I support the Named Person scheme solely out of “loyalty to the cause”. Even more so the thinly-veiled implication that I am motivated by dedication to a political party. In common with many like-minded individuals, I was initially dubious about the Named Person scheme. I was eventually persuaded by informed consideration and reasoned arguments which stood in stark contrast to the shrill screeching of the larger – or at least the most vocal – part of the opposition to the measure.

Hard as it may be for Ms Leckie to accept, mine was no knee-jerk reaction to the SNP administration being questioned. I never had any objection to the legal challenges. Like many others, however, I take massive exception to the manner in which the campaign against the Named Person scheme has been conducted. I totally deplore the distortions and the disinformation and the downright lies. I despise the the crude sensationalism and the clumsy efforts to manipulate people.

While Ms Leckie targets proponents of the Named Person scheme with petty and wholly unfounded allegations of partisan partiality, I reserve my condemnation for the British politicians who, having previously been fully in favour of the scheme, frantically clambered aboard the religionists’ bandwagon the moment they saw an opportunity to take a pop at the hated SNP.

While Carolyn Leckie is obsessively focused on notions of supporters of the Named Person scheme as unthinking devotees of a party or cause, she has nothing whatever to say about those who are clearly guilty of the most obscene politicking. While she caricatures supporters of the measure as line-toeing party loyalists, she turns a blind eye to those who consider even the most deplorable behaviour to be justified in the name of lashing out at the SNP.

The wrong-headedness lies in so unjustly castigating those whose principal concern is the well-being of children while giving a free pass to those for whom such considerations are subordinate to their unprincipled credo of “The Union At Any Cost!”.

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5 thoughts on “Wrong target!

  1. Alan Bothwell

    Well said.

    I’ll take the side of all those agencies involved in child welfare, the overwhelming majority in our democratically elected parliament, and the welfare of scottish children, and not that of religious fundamentalists and Caroline Leckie, any day of the week.

  2. seanair

    Peter should get a job at The National anyway. Much better than some of the contributors at the moment.

  3. tarisgal

    Hurrah! Someone who saw this article as I did! When I read it I thought I was perhaps being overly sensitive and seeing something that wasn’t there. That I should concentrate on the issue perhaps. Good to know that what I was sensing was indeed obvious to others too.

    I am for the NP scheme too, because I believe this is about CHILDREN & their welfare and the hope it can help catch abusive situations before they become ‘life or death’ as has happened too often in the past. The welfare of the vulnerable children should be everyone’s red line in the sand. And if that is not the case, then… there is something very wrong in our society. This is NOT about politics, for me. How dare anyone even suggest it is.

    There are other writers of the National that write in this style. Give the idea they are behind a particular SNP issue – and all the while including subtle messages that the ‘Nats’ are backing it because solely because it’s an SNP policy. The subliminal message that we are indeed ‘sheeple’ and are simply not capable of making a rational argument for or against a policy or piece of legislation but following our preferred parties’ ideology… I can think of another writer in particular who tends to follow Ms Leckie’s writing style. I have stopped reading her. And I’m seriously thinking of just giving the National a miss from now on. I know it’s one of the few that Indy supporting papers, but I’m not at all sure that justifies paying for it in order that someone can dismiss my reasons for supporting a policy simply because I’m for independence.

    Thank you for this article. Well put. And I feel better that someone else recognised & got het up over the subject too. It *wasn’t* me getting annoyed over an imagining…

  4. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

    And if the Named Person appointed to a Christian family held the views of Peter A Bell?

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